Pro-Suicide Group Helps Dementia Patients Request Starvation

On Monday one of the nation’s leading supporters of physician-assisted suicide released a new online “tool” that helps dementia patients request in writing to be denied food and water.

The new online tool from Compassion & Choices — the pro-suicide group formerly known as the Hemlock Society — helps dementia patients create what some call “an aggressive advance directive” they can add to their other medical documents.

The document can be created in just a few minutes via the Compassion & Choices website. It lets patients ask to be starved to death in various situations, such as,

  • When they can no longer dress themselves
  • When they can no longer communicate
  • When they no longer recognize people
  • Even if some of their symptoms can be managed with medication

Most doctors do not believe it’s ethical to starve a patient to death simply because he or she needs help buttoning a shirt.

Perhaps that’s why Compassion & Choices also has rolled out a tool that patients and caregivers can use to screen doctors to ensure that the doctor will follow the aggressive advance directive.

Obviously, this “tool” could be used to circumvent laws against physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia in states like Arkansas.

There are several problems with instructing doctors and caregivers to starve a patient to death once his or her illness reaches a certain point. Here are a few:

  1. There is virtually no difference between helping a patient end his or her life via physician-assisted suicide and helping a patient end his or her life via starvation.
  2. There are no safeguards to protect dementia patients from being coerced into completing or signing these documents.
  3. Once a document like this is created, it’s difficult for a dementia patient to revoke it — especially if the patient has difficulty communicating.

Earlier this year the state legislature soundly defeated a proposal that would have legalized physician-assisted suicide in Arkansas.

That was an important victory in the fight against assisted-suicide and euthanasia.

However, we need to watch out for backdoor efforts to bring assisted-suicide to Arkansas — like this new “tool” from Compassion & Choices.

As we keep saying, being pro-life means believing human life is sacred from conception until natural death.

Just like abortion, euthanasia and assisted-suicide are murder, and they violate the sanctity of human life.

In Canada: Suicide is Cheaper Than Healthcare for Some

Last month a Canadian man with ALS made shocking headlines when he opted to take his own life under the country’s assisted suicide and euthanasia laws after the government chose not to provide him with 24-hour home healthcare services due to cost.

Catholic News Agency writes,

Sean Tagert, 41, was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gherig’s disease, in March of 2013. In October 2017, he suffered cardiac arrest, and was subsequently placed on a ventilator. His illness robbed him of the ability to move his body, eat, or speak, and he communicated via an eye-gaze computer. His mental acuity was unaffected. 

At that time, Tagert’s doctors recommended 24-hour in-home care, which is typical for a person who uses a ventilator full time. Vancouver Coastal Health, Tagert’s regional health authority, only initially offered 15.5 hours of care a day. Eventually, after much effort, they increased their offer to 20 hours a day–which still meant that Tagert had to pay $263.50 each day for the remaining four hours of required care. 

To put it bluntly, Tagert chose physician-assisted suicide for financial reasons.

Physician-assisted suicide preys on the poor.

People who who cannot afford medical treatment may feel like assisted suicide is their only choice.

This problem isn’t limited to countries with socialized medicine like Canada.

In parts of the U.S. where physician-assisted suicide is legal, insurance companies have refused to pay for patients’ medical care, but have offered to cover assisted-suicide drugs.

As John Stonestreet at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview writes,

What happened in British Columbia can happen in Belgium, and in Oregon, and in New Zealand, and in Colorado, and anywhere physician-assisted suicide is legal.

Being pro-life means believing human life is sacred from conception until natural death, and it means opposing the taking of human life without just cause.

Just like abortion, euthanasia and assisted-suicide are murder, and they violate the sanctity of human life.